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Surviving Myrtle Beach on July 4th

August 31, 2015
Myrtle Beach July 4th

We recently visited Myrtle Beach on the July 4th weekend and stayed in the Myrtle Beach KOA right down in the heart of Myrtle Beach.  We found that Myrtle Beach was unlike anything we have seen before and I thought I knew what to expect having been there twice before.  Boy were my memories from 30-40 years ago not a good representation of todays Myrtle Beach.

First you have to understand that we came down from Virginia Beach and previous Delaware Beach.  The campgrounds were excellent, the towns were great, and the beaches were fantastic.  Even the drive down Route 1, US 13 and US 17 was great.  I was not prepared for how much it would change when we crossed the South Carolina State Line.  It started with the famous State Line Fireworks.  It was literally on the South Carolina side of a street that divided South Carolina from North Carolina and just popped out of the fields like Las Vegas in the desert.  As we continued down the Kings Highway what we saw reminded us of Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls.  The huge billboards advertising various shows and restaurants were everywhere.  We also began to notice a trend as we got further from North Myrtle Beach and closer to Myrtle Beach proper, the stores began to change noticeably, it was like there were only 4 things to choose from on the strip: Mini Golf, Crab Calabash restaurants, scooter/golf cart rentals and Beach stores.  It was almost like I could hear the dueling banjo’s playing in my head.

It was a culture shock like nothing else I have experienced anywhere in North America.  I began to notice little things more and more, like people riding motorcycles without helmets, then the pickup truck beds full of teenagers cruising down Ocean Bvd.  There were more motels and less big hotels.  There were loud radios everywhere.

When we arrived at the KOA in Myrtle Beach we noticed one thing we have never seen before in a campground, Toy Haulers like we have never seen before.  Most of the park were Toy Haulers and our 21′ hybrid did not fit in at all.  The thing that really stuck out though were the golf carts to go with all the Toy Haulers, they were everywhere and not just the plain white ones that you see at the golf course, but pimped out ones that looked like they belonged on Cribs.  They had alloy rims, metallic paint, loud stereos, beer holders and driving in the campground with all the golf carts was like driving in New Delhi, they were everywhere and I mean everywhere… sidewalks, pathways, both traffic lanes (usually going the wrong way), they parked everywhere, any flat surface was fair game for parking, and if you were a pedestrian like we were you better hope you have good medical coverage.

What surprised us even more was the evening of July 4th.  We walked down to the beach, which was only a block from the KOA to see the show.  We were surprised to see the amount of personal fireworks.  People were arriving by the golf cart and pickup truck full with boxes of (what I would consider) professional grade fireworks.  There ended up being about a 2 hour pre-show of amature fireworks that would rival most professional shows.  However the pre show was unlike anything we have experienced.  There were two types of people on the packed beach 1) drunk teenagers setting off professional fireworks 2 feet away from helpless spectators and 2) helpless spectators taking cover from the fireworks being set off by the drunk teenagers.

Don’t get me wrong, there is lots to do in Myrtle Beach, and it was fun, but July 4th was probably not the best time to go.  I no longer wonder what I missed when I had to back out of a spring break trip to Daytona when I was a teenager, I just got my spring break nearly 30 years late and with my wife and kids.

Myrtle Beach Fourth of July Fireworks

Myrtle Beach Fourth of July Ferris Wheel

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